EMPTY shops are the bleak reminder of the pandemic and the damage it has caused, but a project to turn the units into art installations might just breathe new life into the city.

Worcester City Council, Worcester BID and Severn Arts are looking for up to eight artists to create engaging bespoke designs to lift up the vacant shop units shown here and inspire residents and visitors.

Councillor Adrian Gregson, vice chair of Worcester City Council’s place and economic development subcommittee, said: “The arts have played a huge role during lockdown. As we recover from Covid19 it is important that we continue to support the arts and local artists to play their role in the city’s recovery by creating and displaying work that engages and encourages people to return to the city centre and support the economy.”

Laura Worsfold, CEO of Severn Arts, added: “Severn Arts is delighted to be working with Worcester City Council on this project to animate our empty units in the city. We look forward to seeing what artists come up with and hope their work will entice more people to come into the high street and be proud of their local creative talent.”

Sam McCarthy, Projects and Marketing Manager Worcester Business Improvement District, said: “Worcester BID are proud to be working with the partnership to support and enhance the city centre. This is an exciting project to be involved with bringing creativity to the city and supporting encouraging footfall while observing the social distancing measures.”

It is hoped the outdoor gallery will be up and running by the end of September.

Any artist who is interested in transforming a unit needs to submit an initial written proposal, reflecting the project theme of ‘hope and joy’, by 9am on Friday.

The brief and application process is available at www.severnarts.org.uk/call-out-outdoor-gallery.